Picks and Pans Review: Lucy Crocker 2.0

updated 07/03/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Caroline Preston

Cyberphobe Lucy Crocker, heroine of Preston's second comedy of manners, is the outsider in a family of confirmed computer geeks. Although her artwork has been incorporated into a highly successful computer game, she neither understands nor likes the new technology. Now her ponytailed husband, Ed, chief executive officer of Crocker Software, wants her to contribute to a second version of the game.

Through the foibles and missteps of a hilarious cast of characters, Preston weighs in on some of today's hot-button issues with the same witty touch that won reviewers over in her first novel, 1997's Jackie by Josie. Ed, for instance, has been receiving Tantric massages from Crocker's punk publicity director, while Lucy has just caught her wire-head 13-year-old twin boys downloading porn. Fed up, Lucy heads off to Wisconsin's north woods and, after depositing her kids at her old summer camp, settles in at her dad's (nonwired) lakeside cabin to sulk.

Even as Preston has you chuckling over the Crockers' shenanigans, you'll likely be thinking about where technology may be taking us and whether or not you really want to go there. (Scribner, $23) Bottom Line: Finely tweaked

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